Ranchi district administration will organise 33 special ration card application camps in the city on Friday for facilitating inclusion of downtrodden people under the Jharkhand state food security scheme (JSFSS).
The move comes in response to the request from civil society organisations.
The camps will be held in slums and areas having concentration of Scheduled Castes and Tribes, extremely backward classes, single women, beggars and disabled persons.
The state government had earlier declared that it would issue 15 lakh new “green” ration cards to eligible persons for bringing then under JSFSS that would enable them to receive 5 kg of foodgrains per person per month at Re 1 per kg through public distribution system (PDS).
A three-member delegation of the state units of Right to Food Campaign and All India People’s Forum, led by economist Jean Dreze, had met Ranchi deputy commissioner (DC) Chhavi Ranjan on October 5 and requested him to hold such special camps as many eligible people were “likely to be unable to apply without assistance”.
Many of those eligible people also did not have Aadhaar, bank account or mobile numbers and even birth or caste certificates required for applying online, the delegation had pointed out.
Accordingly, the DC organised those special camps and deputed officials who would receive applications from such people, both online and offline. They would also receive applications from them for issuing birth, caste, residential, disability and income certificates.
But the order of the DC’s office did not mention if the applications from those without Aadhaar number would also be accepted.
“The district supply officer told us that they would accept application offline even from such applicants without having Aadhaar numbers,” said Swati Narayan of Right to Food Campaign, adding such applicants will have to apply for Aadhaar number so that they get the numbers before verification of application process began.
They had also requested the DC to hold special Aadhaar enrolment camps in slum areas where officials with iris scanners can be deputed for the purpose, she further told, adding they would request the DC once again.
“Aadhaar number is a big issue that has to be resolved,” said Siraj Dutta of Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha, a joint forum of many activists and organisations.
There are many at Malhar Kocha basti near Mousi Bari who do not have Aadhaar numbers and could not even get those because they don't have any paper to prove their dates of birth either, he added.
“If the government is serious to provide subsidised foodgrains which these people actually deserve, it must do something to solve this Aadhaar issue,” Dutta further said, adding both the JMM and the Congress promised it in their manifestos before the Assembly elections.
While the JMM had said Aadhaar would not be made mandatory for getting ration, the Congress made it clear that no one would be deprived from government benefits like PDS for want of Aadhaar, he reminded.